Summer Assignments

Garden City Middle School Summer 2020

A letter from Dr. Nezowitz

Dear Parents,

As we head into summer, we ask our students to make sure that they take the time to catch up with friends, spend time with family, and to enjoy all that the season has to offer. It is my hope that they can do so in person, rather than virtually. Our students, staff, and parents have endured quite a bit over the course of the past three months, so this summer will be crucial for all of us to "press the reset button" and to "recharge our batteries." Everyone needs time to take a break and to enjoy some much needed time off, including children.

However, summer break can produce a "summer slide" with some students if they do not take some time to keep sharp academically. To that end, please use the information in this newsletter to take you to our MS summer assignments for English, Mathematics, and World Languages. We do not want these assignments to be a contentious activity for your children or for them to be a last minute summer activity, but rather, they are to help maintain their skills and make for an easier transition in September.

As you will see from our summer assignments, we are not proponents of endless summer work and packets. However, the research is clear that reading over the summer is by far the best way for students to maintain their skills and even enhance them. We want children to enjoy reading over the summer and not look at it as a task. That is why in addition to these assignments, we highly encourage our students to take the opportunity to self-select books at their leisure over the summer. Choice improves motivation and participation, as does the opportunity to pursue personal interests through literature. Additional links to help with book selection are provided at the end of this newsletter.

In closing, thank you for your continued support and trust. Have a wonderful summer, stay healthy, and enjoy "recharging your batteries" with your children. It has been my greatest honor serving this wonderful middle school community this past year, despite the struggles we faced with the pandemic. As a community, we can and will get through anything!

Thank you,

Eric Nezowitz

Interim Principal

Garden City is committed to ensuring that all students have the reading experiences they need to be successful. Through a summer reading assignment, students will reinforce important skills, employ good independent reading habits, promote vocabulary development, and develop reading comprehension. We have highlighted a variety of books and contemporary authors from the recommended reading lists of the National Council of Teachers of English and Young Adult Library Services Association. Students should select a book from the appropriate list below and complete the accompanying graphic organizers. As any good reader knows, it is about the adventure; happy reading!

The Middle School Library has purchased several of the summer reading list titles in eBook format. These eBooks are available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. These eBooks are available to be read through a computer’s web browser and iOS and Android apps. Click here to learn more about these eBooks.

Assignment for Students Entering Grade 6

Over the summer vacation, all students entering sixth grade must choose one of the following novels to read. While reading, students should complete graphic organizers #1 and #2 (linked below). Completed organizers should be brought to class in September. Students will be assessed on their understanding of the novel they chose.

Grade 6 Novels

Assignment for Students Entering Grade 7

Over the summer vacation, all students entering seventh grade must choose one of the following novels to read. While reading, students should complete the graphic organizers (linked below). Completed organizers should be brought to class in September. Students will be assessed on their understanding of the novel they chose.

GRADE 7 Novels

Assignment for Students Entering Grade 8

During the summer vacation, students entering eighth grade must read The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt . While reading, students should complete the graphic organizers (linked below) in preparation for a Socratic Seminar. In a Socratic Seminar, participants seek deeper understanding of complex ideas in a text through thoughtful discussion. Socrates, a classic Greek philosopher, was convinced that the surest way to attain reliable knowledge was through the practice of disciplined conversation based on questioning, listening, and answering. The graphic organizers are due the first week students return to school.

grade 8 novel

This is the compelling story about a teenage boy’s mishaps and adventures over the course of the 1967–1968 school year in Long Island, New York. Holling Hoodhood, a student at Camillo Junior High, must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker. She doesn’t like Holling; he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside of class? But everyone else has bigger things to worry about, like the war in Vietnam raging and the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Holling is also experiencing turmoil at home. His father wants him and his sister to be on their best behavior; the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds motivation in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself. Gary Schmidt’s first-person narration cleverly captures Holling Hoodhood’s progression from an angst-filled yet innocent boy, to a wiser, self-aware young man.
In order to support the growth of our students over the summer and continue to foster the transition in World Languages Courses, we have designed meaningful summer review materials for students. The goal is for students to review key concepts necessary for success, not only for these courses, but also for future language courses.

On Monday, September 14, 2020, students will be required to submit the completed work to their World Language teacher, and the packet will be reviewed. Please be advised that this assignment will count as two homework grades. Teachers will provide opportunities for students to ask questions and, since language is comprehensive, students will be tested on this material. This will serve as a diagnostic tool to assess students' skills.

Summer practice in mathematics is offered through the on-line site All Garden City Middle and High School students have accounts with CastleLearning. All Middle and High School math teachers use CastleLearning as a regular part of their instructional plan. This site provides students with hints and clues to answer multiple choice questions. It also provides explanations for incorrectly answered questions. Another great feature of CastleLearning is that students can create their own study guides and practice exercises, at any time, for a wide variety of courses and Regents examinations. Students should log into their account to access their summer assignments.

In September, the Math Department will download the aggregated statistical data pertaining to these assignments, and use this information for making a variety of curriculum decisions. The Mathematics Department hopes that the Summer Math Practice will dust off mathematical memories and help to hone valuable skills for the start of a new school year.

Castle Learning

Students should log in to access summer assignment.

Resources for Independent Reading

YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Best Fiction for Young Adults includes fiction titles published for young adults in the past 14 months.

YALSA Best Non-fiction for Young Adults

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Award for Excellence in Non-fiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults.

The American Library Association

Follow the American Library Association on Twitter.


Each year the American Library Association honors books and other outstanding materials for children and teens.

The School Library Journal

Follow the School Library Journal, reviewers of children and young-adult books, digital media and more, on Twitter.

Have a wonderful summer!